National Weather Service: Confirmed tornadoes reported in 7 central NC counties

April 21, 2019 GMT

The National Weather Service confirmed that tornadoes touched down in several central North Carolina counties as a line of powerful storms rolled through the region Friday evening.

According to a bulletin published by the weather service shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, confirmed tornadoes were reported in Chatham, Johnson, Sampson, northern Moore, Orange, northern Edgecombe and Halifax counties.

According to the National Weather Service, an EF-1 tornado touched down near Whitakers on Friday with maximum winds of 105 mph. The tornado touched down near the Swift Creek Crossing along Seven Bridges Road in Halifax County.

The tornado, which traveled more than eight miles, reached its maximum intensity near Speight’s Chapel Road, where it hit a trailer home, completely destroying it and scattering debris for hundreds of yards. The home was unoccupied at the time.

No deaths or major injuries have been reported so far from the storms, but they left a trail of destruction and debris throughout the region.

Another home that was in the storm’s path was destroyed, and the Edgecombe County homeowner said she feels lucky to be alive.​

Hours after the storm roared through town, Rebecca Briley was comforted by loved ones.

“This was my home for 22 years,” she said, as her refrigerator and couch were scattered among a life’s worth of belongings.

“It is very devastating to see this but I know God’s got a better plan,” she said.

The area in Whitaker is littered with twisted windows, flying debris and downed trees.

Residents said they were frightened by the intensity of the storm.

“The rain was coming down really hard,” said David Hinson. “It happened so quick. It shook my trailer.”

Briley was able to make it out of the home just 10 minutes before her walls ended up in trees.

“I listen to 101.5 on the radio,” she said. “It’s a very good station and they give you updates. I mean, it was talking about the storm the whole time.”

She said she was praying for the safety of others when she heard from the radio that the storm was approaching Edgecombe County.

“I knew right then that the storm was coming in my direction,” said Briley, who remains optimistic. “I would have been under that debris if I did not leave when I did.”